Issue 87

Korg Volca Gen2

New 2nd Generation Digital FM Synthesiser


19 April 2022

The next-gen volca fm is a 6-voice, 6-Operator FM synthesiser with all 32 classic algorithms, a 16-step loop sequencer, effects and an arpeggiator that perfectly reproduces the sound of the classic Yamaha DX7 and is completely compatible with SYS-EX patches for the DX7 as well. This next generation model has double the voices of its predecessor, additional effects, expanded MIDI connectivity, and an intuitive interface.

With 6 voices (instead of the 3 of its predecessor) the new volca fm brings a new world of harmonic possibilities to your production. Now it is possible to play, sequence or arpeggiate complex chords with up to 6 voices in order to bring a unique flavour to your music production. No more running out of voices when sequencing melody, harmony and bass all on one device. It is now velocity sensitive via MIDI, which coupled with its 6 voice polyphony, provides a much more expressive and nuanced playing experience than ever before. By popular request, volca fm includes a Reverb effect in addition to the Chorus effect. Each of these two effects can be used and adjusted individually. 

The new volca fm also includes a MIDI OUT (IN/OUT 3.5 mm TRS), making it possible to use the volca’s internal sequencer to control other devices through MIDI, making it the perfect addition to your standalone setup. It will also interact with your DAW of choice with note, control, and clock receipt via the MIDI IN. The internal sequencer offers looping up to 16 steps, allowing you to record your performance on the touch panel keyboard as you play. Up to 16 sequence patterns can be stored in the internal memory. volca fm also incorporates a motion sequence function to record in real time all the nuances of your playing and knob movements, letting you add time-varying changes to the sound.

A new program randomiser is now available, allowing you to find inspiration through happy accidents and unexpected patches. Still incorporated are popular functions such as the warp active step, pattern chain, and an improved arpeggiator, making it easy to create interesting looping rhythms and patterns. In addition to the active step function that lets you skip steps during a sequence, the volca fm provides new functions that enable you to generate more irregular rhythms. If the active step is fewer than 16 steps, you can use the warp active step function to compensate so you occupy the same playback time as 16 steps; then by synchronising the playback with another volca series unit, you can deliberately skew the step timing to generate more unconventional performances. The pattern chain function lets you connect multiple sequence patterns for successive playback, making it possible to construct large-scale developments of 32, 64, or even 256 steps by joining up to 16 sequences. 

The volca fm perfectly reproduces the sound engine of the classic Yamaha DX7. Its six operators and 32 algorithms provide complete compatibility, and it can even load files in the SYS-EX/SYX format. FM sound editing is accessible through the MODULATOR/CARRIER knobs. These knob movements are mapped to multiple parameters for sound changes that are easy to understand. FM enthusiasts can also menu dive into full parameter edits. The volca fm comes accompanied with a Parameter List Guide to assist this. 

Following the volca tradition, the new model comes in a portable, small form factor, with plenty of knobs for on-the-fly sound editing, runs on 6x AA batteries, has an integrated speaker, and weighs 360g (12.6oz) without batteries. The SYNC IN-OUT and MIDI IN-OUT connections allow it to integrate seamlessly with your live rig, production studio or any other volca. In collaboration with Oscillator Sink, old and new volca fm users can use the free online editor to modify patches with no installation is required. The new volca also comes with a range of music software from Izotope including “Ozone Elements” which lets you not only create songs but also master them using AI, “Skoove” which will help you improve your keyboard playing skills, “Reason Lite” DAW software, as well as software synths from KORG and other brands. 

ETA: May 2022



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